A press conference was held today to announce the Stories of the World initiative, one of the ten major projects being organised at part of the four-year London 2012 Cultural Olympiad (See News, 25 Sep 2008).

Funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Stories of the World was described today by MLA chief executive Roy Clare as an attempt to “unlock the stories buried in museum archives up and down the country”. At the core of the scheme is a series of over 35 events and exhibitions that aim to “inspire young people to dig into the past and dust it down”. Local museums will open up previously unseen archive materials for fresh scrutiny by young people, who will be invited to share their feedback with the venues and on social networking sites.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com at today's launch, Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre and chair of the Arts, Education and Culture Committee for the 2012 Olympics, said the project has “huge potential” for the theatre world. “I can foresee projects similar to the current Afghanistan cycle at the Tricycle springing out of this” she said, emphasising that theatre would have a crucial role in the wake of the Stories of the World initiative.

Other major projects running as part of the Cultural Olympiad include the World Shakespeare Festival, led by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Festival of Carnivals, which will culminate in five major carnivals in London and around the UK in 2012. For further details, visit www.london2012.com.